The fool says in his heart that there is no God, but the wise knows God and admit his sovereignty. And the wise live under God's authority. James describes it in three ways. First, do not speak evil against one another nor judge them. Evil speaking is prohibited by the law. If someone think it's okay to break it, it means he is the judge of the law. But there's only one judge and lawmaker which is God. Everyone else is the doers. So we are not to speak evil against our neighbors.
Secondly, we are to seek the will of God. Everyone makes plans and often times forgets God's approval. Instead, we want to use God's power and mercy to achieve our goals and executes plans. This is arrogant boasting and James says this is evil. However, the wise know that we are like a mist. Therefore, they seek the will of God first, in all situations.
Thirdly, the wise live under God's authority by doing the right thing. Our definition of sin is a sin of commission in most times. However, James talks about the sin of omission. If we know the right thing to do and don't do it, it is a sin. Jesus in this sermon on the mount, turned the negative prohibitions in the law to positive injunctions. It not enough not to speak evil against brothers. We should do more than that. We should love them. It's not enough to stop making our own plans, but we should make plans in accordance with the will of God.
That's how to live a life under God's authority.
1. Next Sunday, our EM service will be a church-wide praise worship service at 1:00pm.
James points out that the quarrels and fights among us are from the 'pleasures' that we seek yet cannot obtain. Therefore, we do fight and even kill. The world that we are living drives us to seek our own pleasure and they say it is legitimate. However, according to James, it is not, because we cannot be satisfied by seeking pleasure. Our satisfaction only comes when we ask (to God for wisdom).
Those who do not have wisdom become adulterous and seek to be a friend of world, without realizing to be the enemy of God. So we should seek the wisdom in a given situation instead of seeking pleasure.
Wisdom comes from seeing a far, and seeing the result. And we have to know that some day we will stand before the Judge. If we know and believe it, we would live in a different purpose and pace. Our decisions would be changed and our focus will be redirected.
In order to do that, we need to be humble. God gives grace to the humble. We have many examples in OT. Even to the two worst kings, Ahab, the seventh king of Northern Israel, and the king, Manasseh, son of Hezekiah, God gave graces when they humbled themselves. But to the ones who were proud, God brought judgments on them. And our humility shows in submitting ourselves to God, resisting the devil, drawing near to God, cleansing our hands (not literally), purifying our hearts, and mourning. And God is the hope to those who humble, because he will exalt the humble at the end.
Grain offering is the second offering comes in Leviticus and Hebrew word for it is Minha, which means a tribute. When the Israelites were in the wilderness God told them to give grain offering and it assures that God will provide the land to cultivate and the grain to offer. And this grain offering is going to be a tribute to God who is their sovereign king. By giving this offering, they recognize that God is their Lord and provider. And this is what we should have in our worship. We worship God who is our sovereign king and ultimate provider. And this worship is not only referring our worship service on Sunday. Every thing in our life should be a form of worship.
And the priests were supposed to take only a handful amount of what is brought to them. And by taking only small portion as memorial God receives the whole offering. And this is a picture of Jesus' ministry. By taking Jesus to the alter, those who were brought with Jesus will be accepted. Also, this is a picture of our life. By giving our memorial portion of life, God accepts our whole life, as he did to Cornelius in Acts 10:4.
God allowed the Israelites to bring fine flour with oil and frankincense. in order to be fine flour, the grain must be powdered and pass through a sieve. In order to be oil, olive must be squeezed and extracted. It shows our death. In order for us to be given to God, we should die. Only through it, Christ will live in us. And to bring frankincense, one must make financial sacrifice.
If the incense is too expensive, the Israelites can cook the flour, without yeast, which makes the flour ferment. It reminds them of Exodus, and symbolize that they offering needs to be kept from being rotten. They can bake, fry, and boil.
In the example of grain offering from priests, God ask them to burn all of the offering without leaving anything behind. But in people's grain offering, God allowed his priests to have food. By doing so, God become the provider to the priests as well. People bring grain offering to confess that God is their provider, and the priests were able to confess the same thing by taking the leftover food.
Also, the priests were supposed to give their grain offering every morning and every evening. It means that they also need grace to live. They also should be the worshipers.